I own a small business. It’s killing me and I love it.
I had to go this week to Gainesville State College. I volunteered to so I really shouldn’t say I had to go. It’s great to get out of the office. I also had the pleasure of going to Berry College to talk about Coyotes and Cats on Wednesday. I do a lot of volunteer things. This week it started getting in the way of work – I’ve been wrestling with a problem for another client and can’t seem to figure out the best way to get them to the end. I think I have it and it slips through my fingers. TNGIC has been calling….conferences are starting up and I am helping with the web page. We’ve got a conference at GA URISA…..I’m on the committee. Mid South ASPRS has a paper competition flaring up also….I’m getting emailed about that. I think I’ve slept about 5 hours a night for the last week. I’m grouchy.
I’m also helping out a little on a talk next week for the Ga URISA Luncheon – so I’m learning about bulk uploading data into OSM. So far so good – it’s been a little bit messy but I’m learning. I haven’t destroyed anything yet.
Anyway – back to Gainesville. I like going down there. I miss the university environment. They have a good staff – good students – a great GIS program. They asked me to come down and talk about owning a small business. I couldn’t really figure out a good way to explain it without going through all of the ugliness. I prefaced the talk with “this is going to sound like I hate my life – but I don’t”. I got a bit worked up during the talk – in 45 slides I relived my life from start to now. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I didn’t want anyone to have delusions about what I’m doing. I think I have delusions most of the time- I hope they didn’t get any…. everyone says I am brave for doing this – sometimes I wonder. They don’t see me here – it’s not bravery at times. It’s out and out fear and a fight for survival.
It’s been ugly. I think I get up everyday and question my sanity for about 5 minutes. I make very little money. I work long hours. I could easily walk and go to another company and coast a bit. I sure wouldn’t be sitting here on a Saturday night writing a blog post or watching JOSM upload more data into OSM. I left on probably not the best of terms from my former job. I had a very nice lady at Gainesville talk to me about retirement. She said something along the line of “I really wanted to leave on a high note before I hate what I do”. I didn’t – I hated it and got pretty miserable before I walked. It still bugs me.I should have left two years earlier or quit and got another job. I should not have let it get that ugly. They are a good group of people.
Got divorced. That came up during the meeting. I really try to not talk about it anymore – but it has been an ugly side to the whole business thing. It bugs me still. It will taint anything I do with regards to a social life from here on out. I tried to not let it – it has. I tried to pretend it wasn’t – it made it worse. I’m kicking myself now.
The true sign of loving what you do – would you do it for free? I would…I do. I think that’s what drags me into these situations where I’m essentially working for free. I really do love it. I use it as a “canary in the mine” so to speak. If I start hating my volunteer jobs then I really need to do something else. I don’t – I’ve enjoyed almost every one of them. I should say I’ve enjoyed them all – only one got me and I had to give up – the rest I’m working on still (I’m behind on all of them though).
I really do like what I do – this week has been a test of that. Last year people asked me would I do it all again. I hesitated on answering. This year I’ve been asked – I don’t hesitate. The answer is yes.